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A tip from a rancher in Mexico’s Sonoran Desert has led to an unexpected find: an ancient encampment where members of the Clovis culture hunted an elephant-like animal never before seen in North America’s archaeological record.
More importantly, the camp turned up a host of exquisite stone points and bone ornaments, with organic material dated to 13,400 years ago, making it one of the oldest and southernmost Clovis sites yet found on the continent.
Archaeologists were tipped off in 2007 to unusual bones eroding out of a cut bank some 200 kilometers south of the Arizona border, at a site given the ominous name El Fin del Mundo, or The End of the World.
There they found the remains of two animals that initially proved difficult to identify.
“At first, just based on the size of the bone, we thought maybe it was a bison, because the extinct bison were a little bigger than our modern bison,” said University of Arizona archaeologist Vance Holliday, in a press statement.
After uncovering the distinctive jawbone and teeth of one of the specimens, they realized they had found gomphotheres, odd-looking, long-jawed ancestors of modern elephants once thought to have vanished from North America before humans arrived.
Much older gomphothere specimens had been found elsewhere in North America, Holliday said, and Clovis hunters were known to have stalked their evolutionary cousins, the mammoths and mastodons. But this is the first evidence that humans shared the continent with, and hunted, gomphotheres.
“This is the first archaeological gomphothere found in North America, and it’s the only one known,” Holliday said, before ticking off the many firsts marked by the find.
“This is the first Clovis gomphothere, it’s the first archaeological gomphothere found in North America, it’s the first evidence that people were hunting gomphotheres in North America, and it adds another item to the Clovis menu.”
Evidence of the creatures’ fatal encounter with humans includes four large stone points, all crafted in the characteristic fluted Clovis style, found in situ among the animals’ remains.
Three more points were found within two meters of the animals — including one striking projectile fashioned out of crystal clear quartz — along with stone flakes, two small carved bone ornaments, and burned bones.
originally posted by: skalla
a reply to: punkinworks10
I've not seen the bone rods - i dont know much at all about Archaeology in the New World, but i've made quite a few bone items myself, needles, chisels, various points and blades and they are scary sharp point-wise. I'm getting a pretty comprehensive tool kit together (slowly) and have bevelled bone pieces for use as splitting wedges for bow making and they work a treat.
Bone and ivory artifacts that have one beveled end and one pointed end have been found in kill sites, in direct association with the front limb of a mammoth at Blackwater Draw, and in campsites. Tip breaks on some of these also suggest that they were used as projectile points. Bone projectile points with demonstrated manufacture technology have also been recovered from the following time period, after the extinction of mammoth, (Frison and Craig 1982: 162-165). Some of these have distinctive breaks, interpreted as resulting from impact (Figure 9a). Even though these are associated with a bison kill/campsite, it is believed that they would not have been effective for killing bison (Frison and Zeimens 1980: 231-237).